NFL Monday Night Preview: Chicago at San Diego

Week-9-Preview-Bears-at-ChargersThis should be a high scoring, because both teams so far have only won 2 games, and are subpar at best, so two struggling teams will square off in primetime tonight.

Both teams are going into this game without any power behind offensive units. The Bears and the Chargers wwill be minus some key players. Chicago will be without running back Matt Forte, who injured his knee in last week’s loss to the Vikings and is a severe loss to their offense.

The Chargers will be missing wide receiver Keenan Allen, who sustained a lacerated kidney in a loss to the Ravens, and now is done for the year. He’s a big loss as he was on pace for a possible record-setting season. Before his injury, he has 67 catches that placed him third in N.F.L. history through only eight games. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers visited Allen in the hospital for moral support.

“He was down, as you can imagine,” Rivers told locak media.

So now the Allen-less Chargers will play host to a Bears team that could possibly be better than its tough 2-5 record is suggesting. Chicago’s last two losses came down to game-ending field goals. One was scored in overtime, and the other was scored as the clock expired in regulation. They have played well against the West, strangely enough, each of Chicago’s wins in 2015 have come against A.F.C. West teams (Oakland and Kansas City).

Chicago’s QB, Jay Cutler has a good record on Monday nights, he has won three consecutive road starts on Monday Night Football. He also has some decent stats, Cutler ranks second with a 92.4 Total QBR on third down this season. He’s one of the four quarterbacks in the NFL to average at least 10.0 yards per third-down attempt.

Chargers’ Rivers on the other hand, has 2,753 passing yards this season and is on pace for 5,506. He just might break the single-season record of 5,477 set by Peyton Manning in 2013.

Rivers has five consecutive games with two touchdowans and at least 300 passing yards. In the past 15 seasons, the only players with longer streaks are Drew Brees (eight in succession from 2011 to 2012) and Peyton Manning (seven in the 2012 and 2013 seasons).

These are teams with almost embarassing records. The Bears have taken 41 offensive snaps with the lead this season, the fewest in the NFL. The Chargers have the fourth-fewest offensive plays run with the lead, with 69.

In all frankness, both defenses are among the league’s worst — bar none. They each give up over 28 points a game on average if ot more. So it won’t be a surprise if this one turns out to be a high-scoring affair. The Chargers rank 11th in offensive efficiency, with the Bears at 20th. The Bears are 29th and the Chargers 31st in defensive efficiency ranks overall. So this game can go in any direction.

Our Pick: Bears over Chargers, 35-21